Go to contents

Japanese Prefecture Has Eyes On Other Islands

Posted March. 25, 2005 23:33,   


Japan Provoking Neighbors

According to the Okinawa local press on March 25, the Ishigaki assembly on Ishigaki Island is considering an ordinance to designate January 14 “Senkaku Day.” The jurisdiction of the Senkaku Islands was handed over to Japan on January 14, 1895. The Senkaku Islands belong to Ishigaki city, according to the Japan’s administrative jurisdiction.

The Ishigaki legislative member who proposed the ordinance said that it aims to inform the world that Senkaku is under the sovereignty of Japan and that it is intended to prevent any illegal attempts to occupy the islands.

The ordinance was submitted on March 22 and will be put to a vote in the assembly’s regular meeting on June. The local press reported that Japan’s Shimane Prefectural Council’s approval of “Takeshima Day’’ may have affected the Ishigaki assembly.

In addition, the Okinawa Prefectural Council is also planning to approve a resolution to claim the sovereignty over the Senkakus and ask the central government for the development of resources near the islands on March 29.

Nagateru Ohama, mayor of Ishigaki city, Okinawa Prefecture, antagonized China after he officially announced his plan to personally visit the Senkaku Islands. "As the chief responsible for the administrative region covering the Senkaku Islands, I would like to set my feet on the main island and see it with my own eyes," the mayor said. He added “I plan to land on the island. If it is not possible, I will look around in the air”

China Opposes the Ordinance

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said on March 24 that Japan’s unilateral action on the Diaoyu Islands seriously infringes China’s claim of sovereignty over them. He said that the action is entirely "unlawful and invalid," and that China firmly opposes it.

The Chinese government expressed its strong objection to the ordinance by contacting the Japanese Embassy in China.

The two nation’s attachment to the islands is closely related to the fact that the islands are essential in deciding the boundary of both nations’ exclusive economic zones (EEZ), and also that the islands hold in reserve a great amount of resources. A U.N. report said that the sea area near the islands has reserves of approximately 7.2 billion tons of oil and gas, equivalent to that of the Black Sea.

Japan and China have long disputed sovereignty over Senkaku Islands. Last year, China explored for natural gas and oil reserves in the East China Sea, which triggered a Japanese plan to deploy its Self Defense Forces (SDF) forward.

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com